Health and care staff invited to take part in engagement exercise

Friday 14 September 2018

s300 Matt Hancock May2015 GOVUK

The Department of Health and Social Care have invited millions of health and care staff to be part of the biggest health and social care conversation in British history in a new national engagement exercise launched by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock.

The Secretary of State gave a speech to staff at Southmead Hospital Bristol, on a visit where he met and thanked clinicians from ‘the bottom of his heart’ for treating and saving the life of his sister last year.

On the visit he set out why the NHS is, for him, “deeply, deeply personal” and set out plans to give all 3.1 million health and care staff in England a voice in the day to day creation of policy. His visit to Southmead Hospital followed an earlier one to local care provider St Monica Trust.

As part of his drive to bring health and care into the 21st century, he is launching this as a new digital platform called ‘TalkHealthandCare’, which staff can use quickly and easily to post ideas, questions and challenges for Government.

It will be available on phones and tablets, evolving and updating to reflect the views and ideas of staff in real-time. It will also be supported by a swathe of other events, forums, and webinars for staff across the country.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:

“Millions of hard working health and care staff turn up to work every day to meet any challenges tirelessly, with unending compassion. But they don't just do this for money or other contract benefits. They do it to improve and save the lives of countless strangers, and in return it’s only right that they are valued, supported and developed.

 “But too often health and care employers, despite the NHS being the world's fifth largest employer, don’t get this right. It’s time we hear from health and care staff about what they really have to say about the jobs that are at the heart of this country.”

‘TalkHealthandCare’ has been launched in recognition of feedback from staff via surveys and other routes, that far too often staff aren’t feeling valued at work. Among some of the known issues that ‘TalkHealthandCare’ will be seeking views on include improving shift patterns and juggling home and work lives, speeding up the use of helpful technologies which cut out paperwork and give staff time back, and training and development.

In particular, the Secretary of State has expressed concern about the high number of reports of bullying and harassment, and has reiterated his wish to ensure these issues aren’t accepted and ‘put in the too difficult pile’.

The most recent NHS staff survey found:

  • over 15% of staff experienced physical violence from patients, relatives or the public, with that figure rising to 34% for ambulance staff
  • 28.0% of staff (47% at ambulance trusts) experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or the public
  • 24% of staff experienced harassment, bullying or abuse at the hands of their own colleagues
  • 12% of staff reported feeling discriminated against – and that figure rises to 24% for BAME staff.

To help protect paramedics from violence and increase prosecutions, the Department issued 465 ambulances and their paramedics with body cameras earlier this year. NHS employers are also introducing fast-access systems to speed up access to free mental health support and physiotherapy for their staff.

While NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to develop further ways to prevent and reduce violence against health and care staff, ’TalkHealthandCare’ will seek views on what needs to be done to make staff feel safe and secure at work. 

The Department of Health and Social Care is also launching a brand-new Workforce Panel made up of a range of staff, which the Secretary of State will meet with as a personal sounding board on issues affecting health and care staff across the country.

Health and care staff can join the conversation at